Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lego Exec Shares His Journey

With a tower of LEGO Architecture building block sets at his side, one of the original founders of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Elevator Competition returned “home” on March 25 to share his journey around the LEGO company and the world.

Colin Gillespie is the senior director of marketing at LEGO direct to consumer. In his role, he serves as the driver for developing LEGO’s global direct to consumer marketing strategy, and is responsible for building innovative consumer experiences.

Professor Stan Mandel, faculty advisor of the Elevator Competition, said while introducing Gillespie, “Nothing makes a professor more proud than seeing one of your students achieve their goals and succeed.” He describes himself as “extremely passionate” about LEGO and joyfully recalls when he got his first LEGO set in 1978. “Love what you sell, sell what you love, and create amazing experiences,” he told the audience of Elevator Competition participants, Wake Forest students, faculty, alumni and guests.

One of those amazing experiences was when LEGO® opened a brand store in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Children of all ages were able to join in on the construction of a giant apple. Gillespie showed a video of the event and explained that like in the Elevator Competition, the idea started with a pitch and grew from there.

Gillespie’s presentation titled “From Turnaround to Transformation” showed how LEGO has gone from an idea born in Ole Kirk Kristiansen’s woodshop in Denmark in 1932 to a multi-national company building toys for children in more than 130 countries. His presentation included details of tough times when LEGO got “away from core competencies” and lost money. Gillespie explained how LEGO became profitable again by setting a clear direction, making a change in leadership, talking to consumers, and “right sizing” by narrowing the company’s focus and outsourcing production.

Today, the world’s children spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks. “Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow and our vision is inventing the future of play,” he said. While handing out LEGO Architecture sets of the Empire State Building to audience members, he said, “I want to make sure that you walk out of here and revitalize that love of building within you. Nurture the child in you. This could inspire something else for you.”

A Broader Perspective of Succession Planning

Succession planning is much more than just picking your successor.

It's about deciding what you want for yourself and the business upon your departure. It's about finding and enabling your successor. It's about preparing your business to deliver the optimal return for you and all of its constituents upon your departure. It's about ensuring the most transparent transition possible. It's about leveraging the succession/transition for everyone involved.

We're going to talk about and leave you with actionable/real steps to address all of these aspects of succession planning.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, from 8 am-1 pm at Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem.

Annual Charity Auction Nears

Support Kids of Childhood Cancer!

The Wake Forest Charity Auction provides an exciting environment to eat, drink, mingle, and bid against each other for a great cause! This year's beneficiary is Kids of Childhood Cancer located near Winston-Salem.

The auction’s mission is to make a great impact on the community stemming from the Pro Humanitate motto and our desire to be true men and women for others. Kids of Childhood Cancer provides a network for families going through childhood cancer treatment with the hope of easing the journey for the children and their families.

Please consider not only attending and bidding on exciting items but also donating an item, service, or event to the silent or live auctions. Recent alumni and student donations range anywhere from football tickets to babysitting to gift baskets. If you would like to donate please contact Brian Price at

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BBSA Alumni Weekend in a Few Days

The BBSA is sponsoring a reunion weekend for African-American alumni. The weekend will allow people to network with colleagues across the different programs and reconnect with former classmates. The weekend includes social activities, workshops and concludes with a banquet. The weekend will be an opportunity for alum to interact with current students and also discuss ways to continue bringing a diverse applicant pool to the school. Please RSVP to if you will be bringing a guest so that we can begin to finalize our arrangements. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send those as well.

Here is a sampling of the events scheduled for Saturday, April 2:

Wake Forest Schools of Business Diversity Update Panel, 10-11 am at Worrell 1124

Representatives from various departments within Wake Forest University (admissions, faculty, etc.) will provide their perspectives on diversity efforts within the Schools of Business. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns and offer solutions relative to diversity efforts during this event.

Building Bridges Roundtable Symposium, 11:15 am – 1 pm at Worrell 1124

This roundtable discussion based on our theme will be led by several alumni, business professionals and current students. The discussion is meant to provide insight and to provoke thought on issues revolving around the goal of being a successful business professional in today’s competitive marketplace.·       

Distinguished Alumni Banquet, 5-9 pm (black tie optional) at Graylyn Conference Center: Mews Room

The keynote speaker will be Inga Willis, CEO of The Mogul Group, which is an entertainment marketing and consulting firm based in Atlanta. This event serves to honor our alumni, provoke thought on the changing face of the business landscape and to allow further opportunity to connect with fellow alums and current students. Complimentary beer and wine will be served during the first hour. Proceeds from this event will go towards the new BBSA Scholarship Fund. Formal dress required, black tie optional.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Net Impact Announces 2011-12 Leaders

Greetings all - We are proud to announce the Net Impact Officers for 2011-2012.  Please join me in congratulating and encouraging these leaders!


                                       Julie Almendral                     Nishith Kholia                   Matt Berthinet

                                               President                         Vice President                       Treasurer

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elevator Competition Winners Unveiled

More than $40,000 in cash prizes was handed out to student entrepreneurs at the 12th Annual Wake Forest University Schools of Business Elevator Competition. Thirty-five teams from around the world converged at BB&T Headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., on March 26 to make two-minute elevator pitches to a panel of judges in hopes of winning seed capital for their business ventures.

NJB_20110326_0702 Medtric Biotech from Purdue University took home the top $20,000 prize in the Traditional Track for OSMOSE™, a unique method of destroying bacteria for the prevention and treatment of infected wounds. Team members, Rob Einterz (left), Sean Connell and Jianming Li, received automatic entry into the Venture Labs Investment Competition and can qualify for up to a $500,000 investment from the Piedmont Angel Network.

“I truly believe that entrepreneurship is what keeps the world going,” Einterz said as he accepted the award on behalf of Medtric .

OsComp Systems from Massachusetts Institute of Technology finished second, BlackLocus from Carnegie Mellon University was third, Hemova Medical from Johns Hopkins University was fourth and Medici Medical Technologies from Duke University placed fifth in the Traditional Track.

EYEChina from the University of Oklahoma won first place in the Social Entrepreneurship Track and $10,000 to invest in a plan to provide one million residents of rural Sichuan with high-quality, accessible and affordable cataract surgeries by 2020. EYEChina team members Patrick Luong, Lucas Rice, Samantha Toth and Barry Conrad will also advance to the final screening round of the Echoing Green Foundation’s business plan competition.

Other Social Entrepreneurship finalists included: Ix-Neox from Johns Hopkins University (second), SMILE Floss from Thammasat Business School (third), Antenatal Screening Kit from Johns Hopkins University (fourth) and SevenFOUR from the University of Pennsylvania (fifth).

The winners were announced during a Gala ceremony at the Marriott in downtown Winston-Salem

“The caliber of the teams this year was fantastic. We had competitors from the top business schools across the United States plus four international teams,” said Will Dow (MBA ’11), second year Elevator Competition co-chair.

BOLD from Ball State University won $1,000 for garnering the highest number of Fan Favorite votes on The website had more than 25,000 hits during the competition.

Team SMILE Floss from Thammasat Business School in Bangkok, Thailand received a special “Road Warrior” award. The group traveled 27-hours to get to Winston-Salem for the 2011 Wake Forest Elevator Competition.

The Elevator Competition is a student-run event organized and produced by 2nd year co-chairs: Will Dow (MBA ’11), Chris Van Roekel (MBA ’11) and Roy Hykal (MBA ’11) with a team of MBA, MA, and undergraduate steering committee members and more than 50 other student volunteers. The faculty advisor is Stan Mandel, Professor of Practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and Director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship.

Sponsors of the Wake Forest Elevator Competition include: Altria, BB&T, B/E Aerospace, Broyhill Family Foundation, Burt’s Bees, Checkpoint, Lowe’s, Piedmont Angel Network and Truliant Federal Credit Union.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

LEGO Exec Discusses Passion

During the Welcome Reception for the Elevator Competition, Colin Gillespie, the senior director of marketing for LEGO Direct, was invited to provide a keynote speech. His speech was themed turnaround to transformation for the LEGO organization. When reflecting on Gillespie’s message, there are key lessons that we can incorporate in our professional and personal lives.

Passion: “Love what you sell…Sell what you love…Create amazing experiences”

Gillespie loved the LEGO brand as it was one of his childhood toys. When you are passionate about the brand or service, loving what you sell becomes inherent. When you combine loving what you sell with selling what you love, you then have the ability to create amazing experiences for your target audience. LEGO introduced the opening of their Rockefeller store by creating a giant apple with the help of the New Yorkers. The giant apple was a great marketing technique as it not only created a symbol for New York but involved the locals in order to create an amazing experience that they will never forget.

Continuous Improvement: “The best is still not good enough”

In order to become world class, you have to constantly look at ways of improving your best. Going overboard can also be damaging when you are stretched too thin. For example, LEGO developed theme parks, TV shows, computer games, dolls, and created life-style products. This allowed them to lose focus on their core products and they suffered profit loses.

Core Competencies: “When stretching beyond core competencies, you lose sight of focus and start the walk of desert”

When LEGO suffered loses in 2003 and 2004, they went back to the core - what are their core competencies. They had to set a crisp and clear direction and change the way they do business. They had to find ways to restore competitiveness and reduce the assets that were the most risky. They also needed great leadership to bring them back to basics. When LEGO made the turn from turnaround to transformation, they understood their core assets, had a matching business model, there was high amount of ownership and passion, and right people were hired to do the job.

~ Bobbie Shrivastav (MBA, ‘11)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Creative Capital: Intellectual Property Creation and VC

The Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law, will host its first law and business-oriented symposium “Creative Capital: Intellectual Property Creation and Venture Capital” on Friday, March 25, from 10 am to 3:30 pm at Worrell 1312.

In the business of innovation, issues of intellectual property protection and access to venture capital financing are inextricably intertwined. When entrepreneurs turn to venture capital as a source of funding, venture capitalists rely on intellectual property to protect investments in new technology. The symposium will address the many points of intersection between intellectual property and business law, especially in the context of the IP-based startup company.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Q'Doba burritos will be served at noon.

The keynote speaker from 12:15-1:15 pm will be Bob Young, the CEO and founder of and a co-founder of Red Hat.

This year’s symposium is co-sponsored by the Wake Forest University School of Law and the Schools of Business, BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism.

To access the full schedule, go to

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two-Minute Pitch: Elevator Competition

Wake Forest senior Afton Vechery Afton Vechery (left) is ready to compete in this year’s Elevator Competition.

Entrepreneurs from universities in the U.S., Canada and Thailand will compete for cash to help turn their ideas into innovations during the 12th Annual Wake Forest University Elevator Competition on March 25-26.

Thirty-seven teams will compete, 24 participating in the traditional business track and 13 in the social entrepreneurship track. Teams have two minutes to present “an elevator pitch”— a succinct summation of a their business idea. One winner from each category will receive a cash award and an opportunity to compete for additional funds.

Undergraduate business and entrepreneurship major Afton Vechery is hoping to interest judges in her business idea that crosses biotechnology with cosmetics.

During a summer internship last year, Vechery spent up to 80 hours a week conducting laboratory research related to keratin, a protein found in hair, skin and nails. In the process, she developed an idea for a company that could succeed in the billion dollar cosmetic industry. This year, she continues to keep full-time hours in the lab conducting research while maintaining a full academic course schedule. “The cosmetic application of keranetics has the potential to raise funds to enable continued research in life-saving technology,” Vechery says. And that inspires her.

“Afton possesses a strong desire to achieve, says Benjamin King, Vechery’s mentor and professor of practice in the business school. “She properly seeks and manages feedback and vigilantly pursues opportunity. The way Afton leverages her own native talents along with the many resources that Wake Forest offers entrepreneurs is a winning combination.”

“My personal value system is derived from innovation that has the ability to affect humanity directly,” says Vechery, who in addition to concentrating on new business development in her major is earning minors in neuroscience and entrepreneurship.

In 2008, as a first-year student, Vechery competed in the Elevator Competition with a team of students pitching a plan to build a biodiesel production facility on Wake Forest’s campus. Her first business, which she launched while in high school in Woodbine, Md., was a residential well-water testing and public education company she founded after a science fair project when she detected harmful bacteria in community water supplies.

When it comes to the pitch, Vechery says it is a balancing act. “Judges may interrupt to ask questions or may express a stronger interest in one aspect of my talk over another. I have to stay on my toes this year. As an individual participant, there are no teammates to pick up the pace if I stumble. But I’m confident, prepared and ready to have fun inspiring others about the project. When I make the pitch, this is what I hope will come across.”

Competitors also supply a detailed business plan and prepare a formal presentation. Finalists get to make a 25-minute presentation in a boardroom filled with competition judges. Winners of the Elevator Competition will be announced March 26 during a ceremony at the Marriott in downtown Winston-Salem.

The Wake Forest Elevator Competition, first held in 2000, allows students to test their skills at making the perfect elevator pitch. Each student team is required to perform a two-minute pitch, supply a detailed business plan, and prepare a formal presentation of their business venture.

~ Kim McGrath, Office of Communications and External Relations

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Audit Firms and Corporate Clients: How it Works

Wake Forest University Schools of Business will present a unique look inside the relationships between audit firms and their corporate clients as part of the Hylton Lecture Series.

“Partners & Clients: See how it works!” is Thursday, March 24, from 4:15-6:15 pm in the Annenberg Forum located inside Carswell Hall on the Wake Forest University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Dean of Business Steve Reinemund will serve as moderator of a lively discussion with PricewaterhouseCoopers partners and their clients from American Express and Exxon-Mobil. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for both American Express and ExxonMobil, and will add perspective to the discussion from a board member’s point of view.

“We have assembled a remarkable panel which will reveal how these relationships work,” Reinemund said. “Having an understanding of these important relationships is valuable, regardless of your career interest.”

Panelists will include:

  • Joan Lordi Amble: executive vice president and corporate comptroller, American Express Co.
  • Ward Hamm: partner in the banking and capital markets practice of PricewaterhouseCoopersLLP
  • Patrick T. Mulva: vice president and controller, Exxon Mobil Corp.
  • Jonathan H. Mullins: PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Audit Engagement Partner for Exxon Mobil Corp.

Panelists will discuss such topics as: regulations and how they affect clients, auditors and corporate boards; conflict management and resolution; differences in corporate hierarchies and systems; and how to succeed in accounting careers.

The Hylton Lecture Series in Accountancy was established in 1980 to honor Delmar P. Hylton, who started Wake Forest’s accountancy program in 1949 and helped build it into one of the top accounting programs in the nation.

Tax Time: Students Volunteer With Preparation

Yvonne Hinson and class offer prepare tax returns, 2011

Students in Yvonne Hinson's (center) accounting class volunteer to prepare and file tax returns at the Goodwill Industries in Winston-Salem, N.C.

On Wednesdays, the Goodwill Industries in Winston-Salem turns into a temporary tax preparation office as more than 50 Wake Forest accountancy and law students are preparing tax returns for free there through April 16.

The students participate as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which has sites set up throughout Winston-Salem. VITA depends on trained volunteers to help lower-to-moderate-income, elderly, disabled or non-English-speaking taxpayers file their tax returns. County residents qualify for this free income tax preparation service if a family makes up to $49,000 per year (or individuals up to $24,000).

According to the Forsyth Working Families Partnership there has been a 20% increase in the number of people looking for tax preparation assistance so far this year.

“The VITA program allows students to give back to the community while applying their knowledge,” said Hinson, associate professor and director of accountancy programs. “Many people think that since they don’t owe, they don’t need to file. We are there to help those people who can’t afford other assistance.”

Most of the students participating in the program are enrolled in Hinson’s introductory tax class — fulfilling two of her top classroom priorities: community service and hands-on learning. Hinson made the project a requirement in her introductory course in 2000 when students learned to complete tax forms by hand before trying it online. “Hands-on experience is extremely important,” she said. “I believe strongly that students learn best when they apply the course material in a real world setting.”

This year, students are filing all tax returns online. Paper returns can also be provided upon request. Hinson says the service increases the accuracy of the tax returns filed and the speed with which clients receive refunds.

A complete list of VITA sites, hours of operation, and a list of documents to bring may be found at (

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Groundbreaking Set For Farrell Hall

Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch and Steve Reinemund, dean of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, invite you to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for Farrell Hall. It will be held April 8 at 3 pm. The building site is adjacent to Poteat field.

RSVP at:

Moving Up … Elevator Competition Nears

Student entrepreneurs from top universities from the U.S., Canada and abroad will compete for cash prizes to help turn their ideas into innovations during the 12th Annual Wake Forest University Schools of Business Elevator Competition on March 25-26.

On Saturday, March 26, starting at 8 am, student teams will have to think fast, speak clearly and spark interest in their ideas as they make two-minute elevator pitches while riding in an elevator at the BB&T tower in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C. Competitors also supply a detailed business plan and prepare a formal presentation.   Finalists get to make a 25-minute presentation in a boardroom filled with competition judges.

Thirty-seven teams will compete this year with 24 participating in the Traditional Business track and 13 in the Social Entrepreneurship track.

The Elevator Competition is a student-run event organized and produced by 2nd year co-chairs: Will Dow (MBA ’11), Chris Van Roekel (MBA ’11) and Roy Hykal (MBA ’11) with a team of MBA, MA and undergraduate steering committee members and more than 50 other student volunteers. The faculty advisor is Stan Mandel, a professor of practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship.

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 “It really is a student-run effort…we have been meeting on a weekly basis since the beginning of September and now that the competition is less than a month away, all of us are very excited to see it happen!” said Hykal (right).

Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome back Colin Gillespie (MBA ’00) as part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series when he delivers the  keynote address for the Elevator Competition on Friday, March 25, at 6 pm in the Deacon Tower at BB&T Field. Gillespie is the senior director of marketing for LEGO Direct to Consumer and will share his 11-year journey with LEGO that has taken him both around the world, and the company. In his current role, he is the driver for developing LEGO’s global direct to consumer strategy and is responsible for building innovative consumer experiences and identifying the growth potential created by these experiences.

The weekend of Elevator Competition activities can be followed by reading blog updates, watching videos from the elevator pitches and other activities, and voting for the “Fan Favorite” on

Winners will be announced Saturday, March 26, at 7 pm during a ceremony at the Marriott located in downtown Winston-Salem. The first place Traditional Business Plan winner will receive $20,000 cash and the highest placing team with an MBA student will receive automatic entry into the Venture Labs Investment Competition. In addition, the winning team can qualify for up to a $500,000 investment from the Piedmont Angel Network. The Social Entrepreneurship top finisher will receive $10,000 cash, and will advance to the final screening round of the Echoing Green Foundation’s business plan competition.

Sponsors include Altria, BB&T, B/E Aerospace, Broyhill Family Foundation, Burt’s Bees, Checkpoint, Lowe’s, Piedmont Angel Network, Truliant Federal Credit Union and Vino Del Sol.

Field Trips to BE Aerospace and Lowe’s Planned

The Operations & IT Club is organizing a field trip to BE Aerospace on Tuesday, March 22. They are leaving from the campus at 1:30 pm. The trip will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the operations of Aerospace industry. At this point of time, all the seats are full for BE Aerospace trip, but some seats are available for the next field trip to Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Lowe’s is ready to host an exclusive trip in Statesville, N.C., for Wake Forest Business School students on March 29. Interested students can RSVP to this event by sending a confirmation note to The visit will last from 2-5 pm. Lunch will be provided at 12:30 pm, and we plan to leave from the campus at 1 pm

Monday, March 21, 2011

Director’s Corner: Welcome Back MAs

Welcome back MAs! I hope you enjoyed your spring break and have returned reinvigorated and ready to finish these last two months strong.

I know that the last eight months have been a whirlwind and passed much more quickly than you could have imagined. I also know that you still have a lot on your plates-classes, ALPs, job searches, etc. But let’s not forget that although the finish line is in sight, we haven’t crossed it yet. I challenge each of you to raise your intensity and finish out the program with everything you have. Don’t become complacent:

1. Perform well in class-in every class, every day. Be on time and prepared. Arrange your schedule so you don’t have to miss valuable class time for meetings and job interviews.
2. Work well in your teams. Step up and become a leader. Make sure you contribute.
3. Engage with CMC. It’s critically important that you intensify your job search efforts. Meet regularly with your career coaches. Students who do are the ones who get jobs!
4. Look out for, support, and take care of each other. When things get hectic, it’s good to know someone has your back.

Although graduation is right around the corner, let’s continue TCO(MA)B. That’s old school for Take Care of (MA) Business.

Take care,
Derrick Boone

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wake Forest, Choctaw Nation Form MA Partnership

-The Wake Forest University Schools of Business and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Scholarship Advisement Program are joining forces to help Native Americans earn an advanced business degree through the Wake Forest University Master of Arts in Management program.

Starting this year, the partnership will focus on long-term, sustainable progress of Choctaw students’ academic achievement, financial, academic and advisory support. Wake Forest and scholarship program will work together to promote the retention and graduation of Choctaw students toward an advanced degree through the Master of Arts in Management program.

“We know the desire to attend college and earn a degree is strong among CNO’s top student scholars,” said Jo McDaniel, the scholarship program’s director. “With this partnership … we now have a broader approach to helping our students earn important post-graduate degree success.”

A key aspect of the partnership is early involvement with students and parents. In an effort to promote the retention and graduation of Choctaw students, Wake Forest and the scholarship program will reach out to students as early as the eighth or ninth grade through workshops, college preparation testing and school visits.

Wake Forest will also serve as a resource for the CNO Scholarship Advisement Program on issues related to college admission and financial aid.

Additional benefits for the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program’s students include mentoring and internships through corporate sponsors. Sponsors benefit from exposure and relationships established with highly educated potential Choctaw employees.

“The Wake Forest University Schools of Business Master of Arts in Management is designed specifically for recent liberal arts and science graduates; the program broadens students' education beyond the focus of their undergraduate studies. The MA in Management program's learning environment is experiential and hands-on, emphasizing the value of teamwork and collaboration in solving problems,” said Steve Reinemund, the dean of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

The partnership will also provide the following:
• Up to two Choctaw Scholarships for the MA program starting this year;
• A full scholarship award for the CNO scholars;
• Tutoring for all Choctaw scholars;
• Mentoring support from business professionals for Choctaw scholars as part of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Executive Partners Mentorship Program.

Applications for the Master of Arts in Management are accepted until June 15. For more information, contact Lance Bennett at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business at (336) 758-3849, or email

Corporations or individuals interested in becoming a sponsor or a scholarship donor can contact the Scholarship Advisement Program at (800) 522-6170 x2383 or email

Meet Reyna Camps

Today, we meet Reyna Camps (MA ‘10), business analyst, finance, at Frito Lay.

Learn more..

Although born in Brooklyn, NY, Reyna Camps began her life in Trinidad. And after moving to the U.S. permanently as a child, she returned to Trinidad for two months of each year. Her time spent in this developing country inspired within her a desire to contribute, specifically as a doctor, in an effort to improve the Caribbean health care system. It’s a plan she took with her to Stanford University, where she majored in Human Biology, with a concentration in International health Policy.

Upon graduation, Reyna faced an important decision. Continue on the path she had established by attending medical school, or act upon a developing interest that surfaced while taking business classes as an undergrad?

“I began to be interested in business while taking courses that showed how business concepts could be used to improve economically disadvantaged communities, which indirectly lead to those communities becoming empowered to make better health choices for themselves” Camps said. “With a background that was heavily entrenched in biology and not too much else, I felt unqualified to pursue any type of business field.”

That’s when she first heard of the Wake Forest MA program. She knew immediately that this was the opportunity she was looking for, a way to combine her liberal arts education with the business skills she needed to make a career out of the passion she identified long ago.

Now, Reyna is a business analyst with Frito Lay, and is well on her way to building the resume needed to accomplish her personal and professional goal of bettering life in developing countries. With Frito Lay she’ll have the opportunity to work overseas, and gain the multi-dimensional finance experience she’ll need to use business as a tool to better the lives of others. Her plan is to ultimately return to school in a few years to gain her MBA – or maybe even her MD.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet Jen Ratliff

Jen Ratliff (MA ‘10), an account executive at Trone Advertising, was one of our initial bloggers. Here is her profile on the Wake Forest Schools of Business MA website. This is her MA story.


Wake Forest MBA Staff - Courtney CashinFrom an early age, Jen Ratliff knew she loved the study of society and cultural history. But it wasn’t until she was a freshman in college that she learned how she was going to make a career out of that passion. The following summer, she worked as an intern at a branding agency and grew fascinated by how people think and act, what ultimately drives them, and how the art of storytelling can influence their actions.

After attending Wake Forest’s Summer Management Program following her sophomore year, she knew that in order to pursue a career in advertising with a BA in History and French, she would need to gain the fundamental business skills that would complement her internship experience. After learning about the Wake Forest MA program, Jen decided to graduate a year early and apply to the program. She simply couldn’t wait to start her career in advertising.

Once in the program, Jen worked extensively with the Career Management Center and her mentor to determine a path based upon her passions and career goals, an experience she credits with helping her get the job she wanted upon graduation. “Career Management, what can I say? It’s amazing” said Ratliff. “They bring in so many companies for the students to meet, they offer mock interviews, they’ll sit for four hours on a weekend going over a resume ~ they train you to be the best candidate possible. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without them.”

While getting a job in today’s competitive market and uncertain economic climate can prove to be quite challenging, keeping one can prove be just as difficult. Like many people today, Jen found herself in the unfortunate grasp of corporate downsizing. But the training, knowledge, and relationships she built in the MA program helped her continue on her career path without missing a beat.

“When I was laid off 6 months into my first job, due to the economic climate of my industry, I was able to call my former Career Counselor and ask for advice. She pointed me in the right direction and was there for me when I needed an ear or personal recommendations. I was employed a month later. I have the job search training from   the MA program to thank for that.”

Meet Ron Johnson

This morning, I discovered a website for the Wake Forest University Schools of Business MA program. I found the personal success stories extremely compelling, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of them. If you can a chance, you should really take a moment and watch the MA program’s latest promotional video here.


Meet Ron Johnson (MA ‘10), associate product line manager of basketball footwear at Under Armour

Johnson, Ron Ron Johnson likes shoes. A lot. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney College in 2008, he was offered a position to manage a Super Target in Fredericksburg, Virginia. And while it was a valuable opportunity for management experience within a great company, he knew if he was going to pursue his passion for athletic footwear design, this probably wasn’t the best route. That’s when he decided to apply to the Wake Forest University Schools of Business MA in Management program.

In the MA program, Ron learned that what he was passionate about wasn’t necessarily where he had the most experience, or where he could make the most money. It was about what really inspired him. By identifying his passions and purpose, Ron was able to focus all his efforts on securing a career that would fulfill his long-term goals of happiness, development and financial stability – while doing what he really loved.

With guidance from the Career Management Center, Ron was able to build a network of contacts and attend key events where he could meet those with influence in his chosen field. One of those opportunities was a lunch arranged by his career coach with the CEO of VF Corp., who forwarded his resume to one of his contacts. This resulted in a hand-written invitation to interview, by the CEO at Under Armour.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Campus Events Planned to Help Japanese Survivors

On Friday, March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean near northeastern Japan, triggering a tsunami throughout the Pacific. All members of the Wake Forest University community in Japan at the time of the earthquake have been accounted for and are safe, to the best of our knowledge.
Google has built a page in response to the crisis with news, maps, donation information, Twitter feeds and other resources. Click here to view.
For information about U.S. citizens, see the U.S. State Department website or call (888) 407-4747. Google has activated a "Person Finder" tool for the Japan earthquake.
President Nathan O. Hatch says: "Ours is a compassionate community." Click here to read his letter to the campus.

Wake Forest events
All proceeds and donations from the events listed below will go to the Obirin Gakuen Foundation of America, which has pledged that 100% of funds raised will go to the victims.
Tuesday, March 15, 9 pm and Wednesday, March 16, 9 pm: Make paper cranes in the Davis Lounge. Bring origami paper or any thin, decorative paper. Newspaper will be provided. Cranes will be used across campus to raise awareness. At fundraising events, people will be able to put personal messages on a crane when they make a donation. Cranes with messages will be collected and displayed online to show our solidarity and best wishes.
Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18, 10 am-2 pm: Booths outside the Pit will be selling Chinese and Japanese goods and shirts. An information table will have a collage, videos and translated tweets from citizens during the disaster.
Thursday, March 17, 8 pm: The Student Union will donate half of the proceeds from green beer sales at the Buddy Brown concert on Manchester Plaza (Mag Quad). A donation table also will be set up.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 pm: Donation table at "Exploring Japan Family Day" at the Museum of Anthropology.
Saturday, March 26, 5-6:30 pm: Donation table at "Asian Spring Festival" in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LEGO Executive to Speak at Wake Forest

Lego Man-1 The Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome one of its own to campus next week as part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.

Colin Gillespie (right), the senior director of marketing for LEGO Direct to Consumer, will present “Brick by Brick: Building a Brand and a Career” on Friday, March 25, at 6 pm on the fourth floor of the Deacon Tower at BB&T Field.

Gillespie will detail how his 11-year journey with LEGO that has taken him around both the world and the company. He is the driver for developing LEGO’s global direct to consumer strategy — building innovative consumer experiences and identifying the growth potential created by these experiences.

Wake Forest to Move Charlotte Campus to Downtown

Uptown Charlotte will soon become the new home of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business campus.

Wake Forest has signed a lease with Bank of America Corp. for space in the former International Trade Center building at 200 North College St. The building will be renamed the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center and house all current and future Wake Forest Charlotte executive education programs, including its nationally ranked Evening and Saturday MBA degree programs specifically designed for busy working professionals who want to continue working while earning their MBA degree.

Moving the Charlotte campus to the new location will provide convenience to the busy working professionals enrolled in our programs, to our alumni, and to the entire business community who will be able to participate in networking and speaker events being planned in the new facility.

“Our students, faculty and alumni are the thought leaders of Charlotte. It’s only fitting that we move to the center of this vibrant business community,” said Wake Forest Dean of Business, Steve Reinemund.

“Great downtowns are vital places of commerce, hospitality, governance and academia.” said Michael Smith, the president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “We welcome Wake Forest University to Uptown Charlotte with anticipation of the many contributions they will make to our talented workforce and our community. In Center City, they will enjoy our highest concentration of professionals and the best access to our region.”

The move also raises the visibility of Wake Forest in the city which its largest concentration of alumni calls home. More than 6,000 Wake Forest graduates live in the Charlotte area. The new location will provide much needed space for alumni to gather, network and mentor current students.    

The Wake Forest Charlotte campus is currently located in the Morrocroft Centre in the SouthPark neighborhood.   The campus opened in 1995 with 30 students in one MBA program. Today, there are two Charlotte-based MBA programs with a total of 180 students. The Wake Forest program is the top ranked program of its kind in North Carolina and is ranked in the top 10% nationally by US News and World Report.

Rob Hinton and Eric Parris with Jones Lang LaSalle and Chris Swart of Lincoln Harris were responsible for making the deal happen. Wake Forest plans for Charlotte area MBA students to have their first classes in the new location in January of 2012.

Wake Forest Evening Program Shines in Report

Wake Forest University’s part-time MBA program, exclusively designed for working professionals, ranked in the top 10% in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings released March 15.

Overall, the part-time program placed #29, up two spots from last year, and is the only program of its kind in North Carolina ranked in the top 50. Wake Forest offers MBA for Working Professionals programs in Winston-Salem and Charlotte.

The full-time MBA program placed in the top 15% in its category, with a ranking of #47 out of 437 eligible programs.

Efforts focusing on corporate relationships and career planning are paying off as Wake Forest moved up to #11 for job placement among top U.S. business programs. Within three months of graduation, 92% of the program’s full-time MBA 2010 graduates secured employment. 

“Our students are successfully finding careers that allow them to pursue their personal passions while making a positive impact on the world,” said Dean of Wake Forest University Schools of Business, Steve Reinemund. “The dedicated students, faculty, career management center staff, and alumni network should be commended for their efforts.” 

“Our MBA for Working Professionals programs provide a rigorous learning experience in a supportive team environment,” said Bill Davis, the associate dean of Wake Forest University Schools of Business Working Professionals Programs. “Our graduates have found that the degree has helped them advance their careers and grow both personally and professionally.”

The 2012 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Best Graduate Schools book will be available on April 5.  It includes detailed statistical information on more than 1,200 business, law, education, engineering and medicine graduate programs nationwide. For more information about Best Graduate Schools, visit here, and to learn more about the methodology and data research, click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Value of Business Ethics (Outside of Business)

What if business ethics was not a side issue in commerce but an indispensible means to business success? What, indeed, if the principles of business ethics were crucial for achieving success and happiness in your life?

That was the unconventional view taken by novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, whose magnum opus Atlas Shrugged has been revered by some of Americas most successful businessmen since its 1957 publication.

Dr. Yaron Brook, the president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, will sketch out the principles of Rand's "morality of success," and will explain how they enable businesses and individuals to thrive and profit. Her approach will be contrasted with the conventional views of ethics taught in most business ethics classes. Brook will also indicate the political implications of Rand's ethics.

The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, from 4-5:30 pm at Worrell Law Auditorium, Room 1312.

Renewable Energy Lecture Planned

Frederick H. deB. Harris, a Wake Forest University Schools of Business professor, will discuss the climate for renewable energy in a lecture scheduled for March 23 at 4 pm at Worrell 1117. Harris is also the John B. McKinnon Professor of Economics and Finance.

Refreshments will be available from 3:30-4 pm.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

CFO Panel Will Discuss Competitive Edge

Chief financial officers in the greater Charlotte area are issuing a call to action to sharpen their community's competitive edge in business. Several CFOs will join moderators Steve Reinemund, the dean of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, and Nick Araco, CEO of The CFO Alliance, for a forum titled "Driving Corporate Growth in Uncertain Times.”

CFOs who will serve as panelists include:

  • Scott Boulware, ESP Systems, LLC
  • Bill Elkin, Interflex Holdings Inc.
  • Patrick Fitzgerald, WMF Americas Inc.
  • Rick Puckett, Lance Inc.
  • Shelley White, United Way of Central Carolinas Inc.

The panel will take place Tuesday, March 15, from 5:30-8 pm at Discovery Place (301 N. Tryon St.) in Charlotte.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Details on ‘11 White Collar Crimes Panel

White collar crimes destroy companies, devastate families and cost investors billions of dollars.
“Ordinary people begin their journey toward committing extraordinary crimes with one seemingly minor misdemeanor after another,” according to Neil Weinberg, executive editor of Forbes magazine and co-author of the book Stolen Without a Gun. “At first, they tell themselves their actions aren’t that bad. Eventually, they discover they’re caught in a web of their own spinning.”
Weinberg will be among the panelists at the Wake Forest University Schools discussion titled “Finding the Way Back: Impacts of White Collar Crime” on Thursday, March 17, 4:15–6:15 pm in Pugh Auditorium located in the Benson Center on the Wake Forest campus. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
Two of the panelists will offer a perspective from their experiences of committing white collar crimes.
Diann Cattani, contributing author of Taking a Harder Right, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for embezzling $500,000 while working for a consulting firm in Atlanta. Cattani, a Mormon and mother of three children, now travels the country sharing her story of getting caught up in the “fraud triangle” and works to steer others away from gray areas.
Justin Paperny, author of Lessons from Prison and Ethics in Motion, served just over a year in prison for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme while working as a securities broker for UBS. He explains how his values began to change as he entered his money management career and how he crossed the line from unethical to illegal behavior.
Tom Golden, retired forensic accounting partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and author of A Guide to Forensic Accounting Investigation will also serve on the panel moderated by Kelly Pope, assistant professor of accounting and management information systems at DePaul University and visiting professor at Wake Forest University Schools of Business.
The event is presented by the Wake Forest University Schools of Business and sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Federal Reserve: A Bad Idea?

As the Federal Reserve System approaches its 100th Anniversary, some of the nation’s leading economists who study the Fed converged on Wake Forest University to debate the success, failures, and relevancy of this central bank and its monetary and regulatory policies.

“The Federal Reserve Was a Bad Idea” conference held on February 11-12 was organized by the Economics Department at Wake Forest University and sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Student of Capitalism in the Schools of Business.

Professor Page West, director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, said the conference addresses topics that are very timely and relevant to all Americans. "There is a significant debate going on today about the real impact of the Fed's policies to shore up financial institutions, help the economy grow, and keep inflation under control,” he said. “Intelligent people line up on both sides of the issue. So what can we learn from the history of central bank efforts and effects in the U.S.? That is the focus of this conference."

To explore these historical perspectives and suggest answers to current questions, 70 economists from U.S. universities and representatives from policy think tanks converged on Wake Forest for the 2-day conference.

One of the best-received presentations was given by Professors George Selgin of the University of Georgia and Lawrence White at George Mason University. Their historical analysis finds "The Fed‘s full history (1914 to present) has been characterized by more rather than fewer symptoms of monetary and macroeconomic instability than the decades leading to the Fed‘s establishment."

Read more after the video.

One keynote speaker at the conference was Professor of Practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business, John Allison. In his 20-year tenure as the CEO of BB&T, Allison became quite familiar with Fed monetary and regulatory policies. He presented a “banker’s view of the role of the Fed.”

Allison asserts that mistakes by the Federal Reserve in managing the money supply and interest rates, combined with the affordable housing policies of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the giant government sponsored housing finance enterprises) were the cause of the massive misinvestment in residential real estate that created the recent financial crisis.

Much of Allison’s presentation focused on a criticism of regulations. “Many regulations are probably unconstitutional because they are so broad,” Allison said. “Regulators effectively make laws. Regulations are in fact implemented very unevenly over time and in relation to individual institutions.” He cited a series of laws passed during his tenure in the banking industry and provided examples of instances in which he observed politically-motivated implementation.

Wake Forest University Professor of Economics John Wood explored the effects of the replacement of the Independent Treasury by the Fed, especially during the Great Depression. He posed the question, “Which produces better policy: close congressional oversight, including debates over controversial actions, of the monetary authority, or an expert independent agency outside Congress’s attention?”

Wood argued that the Depression of 1929-1933 may have been worsened by the increase in monetary policy’s independence of Congress. “The Fed failed to take account of the dependence of bank borrowing on economic activity. Money and prices fell by a third between 1929 and 1933, more than 10,000, or 40 percent of banks, failed, and not even an unemployment rate of 25 percent called forth an expansionary monetary policy,” Wood said. “The Fed failed to understand the system for which it was responsible, and the great distance from the costs of its mistakes prevented it from reacting to the problems of the victims.”

However, Wood questions whether the Independent Treasury would have been more effective. “It is difficult to imagine that the government’s control of the currency would not have increased even without the Federal Reserve. We have seen that the Independent Treasury powers had been expanding.”

Wake Forest Professor of Economics Dan Hammond attempted to answer the question of what the late Milton Friedman, one of the 20th century’s most influential economists and an advocate of free-markets, would say about the Fed today.

Friedman argued that the Fed had been a source of monetary instability through most of its history. In the 1980s, he argued that Congress should take monetary policy away from the Fed, freezing the monetary base, and thus ending what he called the Fed’s “arbitrary power” to determine the nation’s money supply, Hammond said. The public today, he added, would be better off understanding the lesson Freidman learned through his research on central banking. This is that policy makers and politicians have little ability to effectively manage the economy.

“We can be sure that events over the past four years would be cause for reconsidering his appreciation of Alan Greenspan’s tenure at the Fed, and that he would decry the capricious innovations in Fed policy that we have witnessed,” Hammond said. “Friedman would not look favorably on power wielded in an arbitrary way by unelected officials. But whether we would be better off without the Fed depends very much on the alternative.”
Over the two days, more than 100 Wake Forest students attended the Federal Reserve Was a Bad Idea Conference.

White papers from the presentations can be found here. Click here to watch a video of the keynote address presented by Professor Thomas Sargent, New York University.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Report: Ungrad Business Program Tops For Academic Quality

Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks Wake Forest University's Undergraduate Business program #1 in the nation for academic quality and among the top 20 programs overall for the third straight year in its "The Best Undergraduate Business Schools" ranking report released on March 3.

Wake Forest's undergraduate business program ranked 19th overall among 139 eligible programs. "The hard work and passion of our students combined with dedication to excellence by our faculty and staff are to be credited for achieving the top rank in academic quality for the third consecutive year," said Dean of Business Steve Reinemund.

One of the Wake Forest students who responded to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek survey emphasized the strength of the school's alumni network. "Many students in the business school have a lot to be thankful for in terms of the work alumni have done to help students secure jobs. Most recently, our alumni took the initiative to go out of their way and develop a 'Wake on Wall Street' network that helps bring the best and the brightest students to New York and put them in contact with the biggest names on Wall Street."

With regard to job placement as reported by BusinessWeek, Wake Forest placed #11 among the top 50 undergraduate business schools, with 92% of May 2010 graduates accepting employment within three months of graduation.

The Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking comes on the heels of news that among first-time CPA candidates without advanced degrees, Wake Forest's accountancy program placed third in the nation for candidates who passed all four sections of the test on their first attempt and Wake Forest was the only school that placed either first or second on each individual section of the exam.

To calculate its ranking, Bloomberg BusinessWeek compiles surveys of almost 86,000 senior business majors and 775 corporate recruiters. The complete 2011 ranking of the best undergraduate business schools, including the full methodology, interactive tables, and in-depth profiles, is available here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Group Looks to Form Skydiving Club

Breathe a breath of fresh air from 16,000 feet.

Learn what it means to live! My name is Anna, and I represent the an interest group in the process of starting a skydiving club. Our group wants to invite everyone to learn about skydiving, have the opportunity to try it,and hopefully realize why it means so much to us! For those of you with a competitive side, come learn about the competitive aspects of skydiving!

An interest meeting will be held in Green 308 at 7 pm on Sunday, March 20! The group has given more than 20 people the opportunity for their first jump! We would be excited to give you that opportunity as well!  All experience levels are welcome! The meeting will cover information such as:

  • Jump Prices
  • Jump Location
  • Jump & Activity Dates
  • Goals for the Club
  • Petition Signing
  • Competitive Aspects

We really hope to see everyone there! If you are interested please fill out the attached spread sheet and join the Facebook group. Come Fly With Us!

Here is what some of the current members had to say about what skydiving has meant to them:

" The experience of skydiving was a chance for me to do what I always wanted to do but never really thought possible.  It meant that anything can be done and it was a sense of freedom from everything … including gravity!"

~ Chris Garcia '14

"It taught me how to let go and enjoy something out of the ordinary. It made me feel weightless and powerful too … my favorite part was seeing the ground beneath me from the sky … we were actually in the sky … it makes you believe anything is possible"

~ Porscha Street '13

"It's crossing that line between just experiencing life or actually living it! For me skydiving is like the taste of life on the tip of my tongue, and one I'll never get enough of!"

~ Bailey Stinson

Thanks, Skydive Club Interest Group

NY Panel “Cautiously Optimistic” on Economic Recovery

Soaring fuel prices, struggling municipal governments, and the future of the housing market were among the topics addressed during a Wake Forest On Wall Street Roundtable: Outlook 2011, Feb. 23, at the New York Athletic Club.

The roundtable was produced by the Wake Forest On Wall Street alumni group and sponsored by Annaly Capital Management Inc. FOX Business News anchor and Wake Forest alumna, Dagen McDowell (’91), served as the moderator.

Panelists were cautiously optimistic about economic recovery in the United States, stressing a large amount of uncertainty due to changes in financial regulation through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Jim Awad (P ’13), a managing director of Zephyr Management, said the United State is experiencing “stronger than expected cyclical growth and economic recovery within the context of huge secular headwinds.”

However, Michael Farrell (P ’10), the chairman, president and CEO of Annaly Capital Management said that Americans can expect to see a continued tightening of credit including “underwriting standards in place with 10-20% down payments and 750 and higher FICO scores.”

Political unrest in the Middle East is not expected to go away. Michael Berczuk (P ’14), a managing director and the head of U.S. Rates Banks and Servicers Distribution of UBS AG said that oil prices have risen more than 25% in recent weeks and “with talks of $4-5 per gallon gasoline prices by summer, you can see how fragile the economy is.”

Within the United States, politics are moving to a more centrist position, according to Todd Gibbons (’79), vice chairman and chief financial officer of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. He referenced the attitude of labor unions to making concessions on pensions and medical benefits. “We are moving the discussion so it’s not that we need to do something, now it’s how much and how we will actually do it. Don’t underestimate the American people and their response when you have to get something done,” he said.

In closing, Farrell said the financial crisis brought out the very best and worst in people and those with integrity survived and will continue to thrive. “Behavior counts, culture counts, character counts.” He emphasized that business is a noble profession, and “I have found in my life that giving gives back and multiplies.”

Director’s Corner: Events to Keep in Mind

HinsonY I hope that everyone is doing well. I’m sure you are all looking forward to Spring Break, which is just upon us! I hope that each of you enjoy a restful, safe and fun Spring Break. I want to take this opportunity to tell you about some upcoming Spring events so that you can be sure to get them on your calendar. These events are open to everyone in the Schools of Business.

March 17: White Collar Crime panel hosted by Professor Kelly Pope, DePaul University, will take place from 4:15-6:15 pm in Pugh Auditorium.  Pope hosted this panel last year when she was a visiting professor with the Wake Forest University accountancy programs. She is returning to campus this spring and will host the panel again for us. Additional information on the panel may be found here.

March 24: Our annual Hylton Lecture will take place from 4:15-6:15 pm in Anneburg Forum, Carswell Hall. We are pleased to welcome the corporate controllers of both American Express and Exxon Mobile Corp., along with their PwC audit partners, to campus.  More information may be found here.

Here is a unique opportunity for MSA students planning to sit for the CPA exam:  We are now working with the AICPA and have been selected as one of a small group of universities allowed to participate in practice CPA exam content sessions.  Students electing to participate in this will need to bring their computer on the selected date where they will take some "test" CPA exam questions. These questions could quite possibly show up on the CPA exam in the future. If you would like to participate in this in April (on a Friday) please let me know of your interest by emailing me at

We will be setting up several MSA Town Hall meetings throughout the Spring semester so please be on the lookout for these events. Please remember that I am here, as well as are Jan Pagoria and Mary Knapp, if you have anything you need to discuss.

~ Yvonne Hinson

Paying It Forward: 2011 Women’s Weekend

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 This year, the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB), hosted the Women’s Weekend, with the theme, “Paying it Forward” on Feb. 25-26. This was the first year they invited prospective students to join the event.

The weekend began with a dessert and cocktail reception with keynote speaker, Lisbeth Evans, who shared her marvelous story on why it is important to follow your dreams. She came from a strong family of very educated women. She is a “Double Deac” herself and her story truly showed how she followed her passion. She started out being a teacher after completing her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University. After a year of teaching, she went to Wake’s business school to earn an MBA. After business school, she worked as a developer for a real estate company, joined Morgan Stanley, worked for the government and was a former N.C. Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources, and invested in the fashion industry.

Evans is currently the owner of Once Upon an App, which makes educational programs and games for children. Her underlying message was to go pursue your dreams: We as women need to have the power and self confidence to follow our passion and it could lead us in various industries, roles, and paths.

On Saturday, the event kicked off with having the Alumni Panel. Our panelists consisted of Evans; Katharina Haynes Bethea, associate marketing manager at Wal-Mart; Kathy Hackshaw, general manager of Tanger Outlets; and Kelly Lockwood-Primus, vice president of marketing for Primo Water Corp. Topics of discussions included challenges women will face, mentoring, and paying it forward. Here are key points from the discussions:

  • Challenges Women will face in the work-place
    • We as women want to do it for less, which is okay if it is a job that you want to do and are passionate about.
    • Make sure you are aware of your talents. Don’t pigeonhole yourself in an industry.
    • Women are often self-critical.
    • It is easier for women to blend in, especially if they are the only girl at the table. When you start blending in with the rest of your counterparts, you automatically set yourself to loose. Don’t be afraid to show your feminine side – express yourself
    • Sometimes, in order to maintain your passion, leaving the company may be the possibility. Have a good balance of work and life. Develop a social support.
    • Strongly recommend reading the book: How to succeed without a penis and learning how to play golf.
  • Mentoring
    • Studies have shown that mentorships are very crucial in order to be successful in your career
    • Connecting with a mentor and ensure they have the skill set that can help you get to the next level. Use different mentors at different times of a career
    • Have a sponsor: Someone that can promote or advertise you to others in the organization. The sponsor should have a big enough voice in the organization.
    • Mentoring should be a two-way street. Allow the mentor to provide you guidance but also ask them if you can assist them on a project or a task
    • Shadowing the mentor is also a great way to get the experience
  • Paying it Forward
    • Need to have the mentality to provide support to others based on lessons learned not getting stuck in your own personal struggles. For example, if it took me five years to get there, teach others of your struggles so they can make it there in less time.
    • Always have each others back – not being catty.
    • Provide constructive feedback to others if they are unwilling to bring you along.
    • If there is back-biting, address it head-on.

After lunch, we had a great session by Kathy Korman Frey, founder of The Hot Mommas Project, on the topic of New Sisterhood of success. Here were the key highlights:

  • To Don’t List
    • It is not enough just to have a to-do list. Having a “to-don’t” list will allow you to maximize your time effectively. Key point in this discussion is to stay out of the e-mail vortex of death, where we often want to check a quick e-mail and fall into a malicious trap of responding and addressing issues that can wait.
  • Value Spreadsheet
    • Quantify your value. Do a quantitative analysis on what you are worth to the organization. This will assist with salary negotiations.
  • Understand needing support where you log most hours
    • This will allow you to have more focus. What are the most important priorities that need to be completed and reaching out for support?
  • Work-Life balance
    • Playing multiple roles – at home, work. Women typically get a lot of care giving responsibilities, whether it is child care or taking care of elderly relatives.
  • 5 Mentors
    • Studies have shown that women that have five or more mentors are more successful.
  • Key message for all women: Ask others how you can support them by providing your examples and experiences. Forum technique, where you are not giving advice but experiences builds a support network.

Overall, the Women’s weekend was a big success. There were a lot of experience sharing and knowledge that we were sharing. Key to keeping this momentum going to ensure you are following the techniques provided and not allowing constraints of real life sneak up. As a millennial female in the workforce, this has taught me a valuable lesson. The key message it has taught me is the idea of paying it forward. The struggles I have faced in the workforce or at school needs to be shared with others so the next generation of women can learn from my mistakes and take that knowledge and pay it forward to the next.

~ Bobbie Shrivastav (MBA ‘11)